Bills find spark just in time to avoid embarrassing upset

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- No team wants to be the first to lose to the Miami Dolphins. The Buffalo Bills nearly took the pressure off the rest of the league.

The Bills gutted out a 31-21 victory Sunday against Miami, a game in which the Dolphins held the lead a season-high two times. Trailing 14-9 at halftime, Buffalo needed a 98-yard drive spanning the third and fourth quarters to take the lead for good, coasting to victory on the wave of momentum coursing through New Era Field.

Sean McDermott's team seems hell-bent on winning ugly at all costs.

Describe the game in two words: Too close. As in, this game was too close for comfort for the Bills, who entered as a 17-point favorite. Six games into the season, it's difficult to determine whether the Bills are the team that threatened the Patriots in Week 4, or the team taken to the brink by the Titans and Dolphins in Weeks 5 and 7, respectively.

Pivotal play: Tre'Davious White's third interception of the season woke this home crowd -- and home team -- up in the third quarter. The Dolphins showed off their confidence with a perfectly-executed fake field goal, setting up first-and-goal from the 2-yard line. Ryan Fitzpatrick took a 10-yard sack immediately following the fake, then made his worst decision of the day on the next play. The former Buffalo quarterback stared down his intended receiver, Isaiah Ford, and White jumped the route for the pick at the 2-yard line. White wasn't done; he forced a fumble two defensive possessions later to set up the Bills' next touchdown of the game.

QB breakdown: Lost in the threat of becoming Miami's first victim of the season was a quietly strong game from Josh Allen, who finished 16-of-26 for 202 yards and two touchdowns. Allen was not perfect -- his deep-ball struggles continued as he missed on a handful of passes downfield -- but for the first time this season, there was no head-scratching moment or decision and, thus, no crippling turnover. Once again, he was lights-out with the game at stake, completing all 10 of 11 for 112 yards in the second half. It's a silver lining in an otherwise closer-than-necessary contest, but Allen's performance further proves the value of ball security.

Promising trend: John Brown remains on track toward a career season. He corralled 5 of 6 targets for 83 yards and his second touchdown of the season. He has recorded at least five catches and 69 yards in five of the Bills' six games this season, and he is on pace for a career-high 1,261 receiving yards in his first season in Buffalo.